A home run early in the game did not help the Eugene Emeralds as the Tri-City Dust Devils scored four unanswered runs, dropping the Ems 4-2 in front of 4,133 at PK Park.
Nelson Velazquez took the fourth pitch of the bottom of the first and drove a ball into the left field bullpen for his eighth homer of the year. It gave the Ems (13-17, 27-41) a 1-0 advantage and a lot of momentum to start the game.
Unfortunately, they could not capitalize and failed to get another base runner until the fourth inning. By that time, the Dust Devils (14-15, 32-35) tied the ball game when Xavier Edwards singled, got to second on a missed pick-off attempt, and scored on a Blake Hunt sacrifice fly.
That run was arguably the lone sore spot in an otherwise brilliant performance from starter Riley Thompson. Thompson went a career high 4.2 innings, giving up three hits, one unearned run, two walks and five strikeouts.
After 1.1 two hit and scoreless innings from Mitch Stophel, it came crashing down for the Ems in the seventh. Cam Sanders got the first batter of the inning out but then walked a pair before getting a fly out.
Another walk loaded the bases before manager Steve Lerud had seen enough and went to the bullpen. Eugenio Palma came in, but gave up back-to-back singles to Michael Curry and Luis Asuncion, scoring all three runners and giving the Dust Devils a 4-1 lead.
Eugene got one closer in the eighth when, with two outs, D.J. Artis walked. Nelson Velazquez the singled and moved Artis to third before Luke Reynolds hit another single, scoring Artis and getting the Ems one run closer.
Game four of the five-game series starts at 5:05 pm on a Throwback Sunday. Ems will send new pitcher Yovanny Cruz to the mound while the Dust Devils will counter with Adrian Martinez. Tickets are available at emeraldsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.